THE BLOG
03/27/2014 09:21 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2014

Embracing Routine

Are you, like me, one of those people who are physically allergic to routine? Does the thought of doing the same thing at the same time everyday make you want to poke your eyes out? Yes? Now let me ask you, how much calm and peace do you feel in your anti-routine life?

Many of my clients have an immense desire for a more balanced life, and very few have purposefully designed the life they currently live. Too many of you are treading water instead of swimming with the current, living in a reactive state instead of a place of creating opportunities, and overwhelmed with all of the decisions you have to make and then never quite get what you want.

That being said, even those of us who absolutely hate routine still have some routine in our lives because it's human nature. You probably routinely brush your teeth in a particular pattern, you probably take the same route on your drive home from work, and you probably routinely put on your shoes starting with the same foot. The reason is that the human brain is actually wired for routine. Neuroplasticity shows us that we can create new pathways, but even the new ones are still defined pathways.

Take advantage of your nature and create less stress with these 5 decision-free lifestyle tips:

1. Schedules are good: Part of scheduling an activity is actually honoring and respecting it as a priority. Just like you would write down a medical or dental appointment and not skip it because a friend called for a coffee date, scheduling a regular date night with your spouse, a regular run, or a yoga class is honoring your relationship and your self-care.

2. Meal plans are yummy: They save you money by only purchasing the foods you intend to prepare, and planning your meals is a healthy alternative to relying on overly processed convenience foods. As a family, spend one hour a week with the grocery flyers and your cookbooks to plan what you will eat that coming week.

3. Healthy boundaries are vital: Define your relationships with friends, co-workers, employer or clients. If you are clear about what they expect from you and you from them then you will have removed stressful guesswork and potential misunderstandings. Your boss clearly expects you to show up for work 40 hours a week and you clearly expect a paycheck. What are the clear expectations with your mother-in-law or your best buddy?

4. Budgets are blissful: Hear me out... actually knowing how much money you have and spending within that amount is one of the most stress relieving things you can do. Establish a weekly routine to reconcile your actual spending with your budget, because this practice will put you in control of your money and your choices.

5. Don't forget the kids: Children thrive on routine. If they know what is coming next, they are more likely to go along with the plan than to throw a tantrum over not being in charge. And I am sure I don't need to tell you how great it is to deal with a calm child. And, bedtime routines are a must at any age.

Be careful. Before you know it, you will actually be on top of your laundry and not mistaking the clean and dirty piles as you get dressed in the dark.

I want to hear from you. Where have you incorporated routine in your life? How has it helped? Drop me a line at my website or comment below and keep the stress relief conversation going.